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Troy Belles force game three, win 5-2

Troy and Elba battled for the second time in as many days Friday night in Ozark, but Troy flipped the outcome from Thursday night with a 5-2 victory to force a third game in the best-of-three series in district play.

“That was a hard-fought game by both teams,” Troy head coach Steve Finlayson said. “Our girls practiced before the game and we fixed some of the problems we had last night. I can’t take anything away from Elba because they are a good team and we will see tomorrow who the best team really is.”

Troy and Elba were tied 1-1 going into the bottom of the fifth inning, but Troy surged in the inning and scored four runs to take a 5-1 lead. Elba could manage only one more run on Troy starter Becca Hartley.

Hartley pitched a complete game for the win and struck out nine batters. She allowed two runs on three hits and walked four.

“Becca pitched a great game and Brooke Hudson did a wonderful job behind the plate for us,” Finlayson said. “And we again had contributions from the whole team. All 12 of the girls contributed in one way or another.”

No Lady Trojans scored more than one run or compiled more than one hit in the win. Hannah Fountain, Madison Mehaffey, Hartley and Stephanie Finlayson each had one hit and one run scored. Conleigh Gilmore and Tootie Goshea each had one hit and Alli Ellis scored one run.

Steve Finlayson said the team worked hard to correct some mistakes they made Thursday and it showed in Friday’s game.

“We got some of our problems with base running straightened out and we were able to move runners around today,” he said. “We didn’t score any more runs than last night, but we basically played a better mental game and that kept us in the game all night.”

Mehaffey’s hit was a double and Hartley’s was a triple.

Troy faces off with Elba in the championship game of the series today at 6 p.m. in Ozark. Troy won the coin toss and will be the home team.